The Finnflier® Goes 100m/328’
Since I began importing the Finnflier® seven years ago, I’ve been on the receiving end of reports about how throwers are using this versatile training javelin. Middle schools, high schools, college, open and master’s athletes all seem to be able to get something out of it. My original observation was that it seemed to save the arm while enhancing the learning for making a javelin fly right, and that’s what I’ve been mostly hearing from our thousands of users over the years.
Super far throws with the Finnflier® have been reported to me over the years, with the best results I’d heard of being an 88m throw a few years ago. But things changed on Wednesday November 27th, when Michael Shuey (shoo-ee) tossed one an incredible 100m. That’s really, really far. Turns out he’d thrown a Finn 90m (296’) last year.
Shuey, currently the USA’s top male thrower at 83m, attended an NSAF javelin clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, the weekend prior. Also in attendance were the top US women throwers, last years Pan Am Games medallists Kara Winger (Gold, also 5th at Worlds) and Ariana Ince (Bronze). We also had many of the top US high school throwers, and a great group of post-collegiate athletes, all under the direction of javelin legend Tom Pukstys. Tom pulled off one of the best javelin clinics I’ve ever been to, all the way down to good weather on the main day.
Mike threw the Finnflier® about 82m in a casual session and looked…well, pretty darn good. I was impressed with his consistency and his appearance of knowing what he was doing – these weren’t lucky throws. We had some good technical discussions, and he seemed psyched about getting to hang with the other top throwers.
Then on Nov. 27th I got a video clip text message from Tom showing Mike’s big throw. I recognized it as a cousin of what I saw in Birmingham – reminiscent of the great Raymond Hecht, featuring an early “catch” of the throw for the “Reverse C”, a “Bump”, and enormous right arm elevation, internal rotation and pronation at release to produce a huge “Forward C”. Mike’s a big fellow at 6’5” 235 lbs, so this type of throwing is available to him. The elbow sleeve is a load measuring device, not injury related.
I’ve always heard of great javelin athletes throwing underweight implements really stinkin’ far, so this is no huge surprise. It can be an incredible confidence builder and teacher of what happens at very high speeds.
These two views have been synchronized to the moment of left foot landing.
I interviewed Mike and learned a few things:
- He started throwing the Finnflier® as an elbow rehab tool at Penn under the directionof Coach Lucais MacKay. He characterized throwing the Finns as “A complete contradiction to the heavy weight training for javelin common in many NCAA programs” and that this was good for him.
- He said throwing the Finnflier® has allowed him to focus on finesse throwing and that it was far easier to train confidently after his elbow injury.
- On this day, he said he felt he could adjust his timing and speed and still hit the point well. This matches what I experienced and heard all my javelin career – some days are great and those days can allow for breakthroughs.
- When he first threw the Finnflier® at another NASF clinic a few years ago, he struggled to throw it straight all of 48m/150’. Tom Pukstys was there also and told him he needed to work on this! Looks like Mike listened and got the hang of it…
So what are the takeaways for the javelin community?
- Learn to hit the point. Whether or not you throw the Finnflier®, you’ve got to be confident and in the groove of flying the javelin at low, medium and high speeds. Mike has found the Finnflier®’s easy-to-read flight characteristics helpful to learn flight.
- Throw so it doesn’t strain anything. This allows you to pile up the reps and really get good at the action, along with building power exactly in the throwing action. Mike mentioned something he learned from reading about Men’s American Record Holder Breaux Greer’s training when he was working with Finnish coach Kari Ihaleinen – throw a lot. Mike varies the implements and runups in his sessions, from heavy ball throws standing up to full runs with light implements, but the daily totals can be 50+. He says his focus is on mechanics. Again, the Finnflier®’s light weight and high flexibility allow lower strain throwing.
- Mike said he was trying to “flow through the throw” and be very aware of a target in the distance. These are classic, classic javelin concepts. It’s so good to hear these valid ideas getting put to such good use.
- The big question: what does a 100m Finnflier® throw “translate” into for, say, an 800 gram javelin? No one knows. There’s only one data point! But at the shorter distances, we know more. I’ve observed at the 60m (200’) level, it seems to be about 20 – 25’. So if you throw a Finnflier® 225’ (68m), you’ll probably throw the 800 about 200’. For women throwers, I’m hearing a 50m 600g throwers can throw a Finnflier® about 55m. Results vary pretty widely. But I’m going to predict that Mike likely to have a big PR with the 800.